Retail Technology Trends for 2019
In the effort to avoid a fate similar to recently shuttered retail giants like Toys R Us and Sears, retailers who focus on and leverage today’s retail technology to its best advantage will continue to dominate. As stores of all sizes and specialties continue to battle the downturn in foot traffic, a commitment to e-commerce is critical, as is being able to offer consumer experiences that deliver personalization, convenience, value, and exclusivity.
Retail technology trends to watch in 2019
The recent National Retail Federation (NRF) show in New York City underscored current trends on the rise and what we might expect to see more of in 2019. Some of the highlights of the show included:
1. Cloud-connected machines
Companies like Starbucks are connecting their in-store machines to IoT-driven cloud solutions, helping them to glean insights into performance, sales, consistency, and quality across all of their outlets. This allows them to track sales in real-time, reduce waste, and optimize recipes throughout their network, enabling a highly consistent product and brand experience from day-to-day.
2. Removing barriers in brick-and-mortar retail
Retail technology will ease some of the more traditional pain points of on-site retail with the growth of automated checkout or checkout-free stores, like Amazon Go.
3. Online-to-offline experiences
All retail processes, from online shopping to offline shopping and logistics are integrated across a single, data-driven value chain, delivering a seamless branded experience from end-to-end.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the new normal
Consumer comfort with technology like chatbots, personalization, and AI assistants is on the rise, but AI can be hugely beneficial to the retailer as well. From customer service to collecting data on industry trends, AI supports better decision-making across every channel.
5. Omnichannel comes of age
Consumers already have high expectations for customer service. Widespread adoption of omnichannel and other smart technologies are becoming foundational, highlighting the consumer’s reticence to compromise the great customer service they deliver.
6. Robots in the warehouse
While it’s nothing new, robotic fulfillment technology is proving itself to be very effective at cutting costs and speeding up processing times. This will allow retailers to entertain the viability of same-day or next-day delivery, a trend that will put adopting retailers way ahead of the curve.
7. Drones on the floor, sensors on the shelf, robots in the aisles
While drone delivery may be facing a bit of a chicane at the moment due to legal challenges, we may be seeing more drones helping shoppers on the retail floor in the near future. Sensor technology is also being used todetect stock levels, place reorders, and locate misplaced items.
If it’s possible for a machine to take over a menial task, it can lower costs, reduce errors, and free up employees to spend more quality time with customers. Giant Food Stores recently deployed Marty, an autonomous robot that can detect spills and hazards in store aisles as well as low-stock situations. Using image-capture technology, Marty sends this data to store employees who can then respond right away.
These are just some brief highlights curated from our experience at NRF this year. If you would like to learn more, or if you are looking for ways to leverage today’s top retail technology trends for your business growth in 2019, we would love to talk to you about how we can help. Reach out today.